The Confession of Piers Gaveston, Brandy Purdy's first novel, was self-published with iUniverse in 2007 and is 181 pages long. The novel is narrated in the first person by Piers himself, in modern English with the occasional word like 'mayhap' thrown in, and reminds me in countless ways of Chris Hunt's 1992 novel Gaveston, a much longer, insightful and, for all its excessively purple prose, a far more accomplished work. Piers is, tediously and improbably, a Goddess-worshipper, a frequent cliché in novels featuring him (e.g. the Chris Hunt one, Sandra Wilson's Alice) based on the entirely false story that his mother was burned as a witch, and presumably on the statements of various contemporaries that he had bewitched the king and "was accounted a sorcerer." Although he died excommunicate because he had returned to England after being perpetually banished, there's no reason to think Piers wasn't as much a devout Christian as anyone else at the time. Child sex abuse and child prostitution are not topics that I personally want to read about, and frankly I didn't expect to find them in a novel about Piers Gaveston. Piers is so seductive in Confession that even men who normally only fancy women find themselves lusting after him, which is also - like so much else in the novel - reminiscent of Chris Hunt's Gaveston (pretty well all the men in that one fancy Piers too). I may be in a minority here, as there are plenty of positive reviews of the novel online, but I don't see any depth to Purdy's creation of Piers Gaveston, don't find his relationship with Edward plausible or interesting, don't feel any sympathy or liking for any of the characters, don't see Piers' wit, don't see anything at all that makes me think this is in any way a realistic retelling of Piers' and Edward's story. I asked myself if I'd like the novel more if it weren't about Piers Gaveston and Edward II, but about an invented king and his invented promiscuous lover. There are some things I do like in the novel: Piers' attempts to be kind and affectionate towards his innocent young wife Margaret de Clare - even though he does abandon her on their wedding night to sleep with her uncle - and his love for his daughters Joan (with Margaret) and Amy (with a woman named Sarah). But it's a shame to see a fascinating man like Piers Gaveston written as little more than a lovelorn prostitute with so many of the fascinating events of his life skated over or ignored altogether, and a shame to see a novel perpetuating unpleasant stereotypes about gay and bi men's behaviour.
I've always been fascinated by the story of Edward II and his favorite, Piers Gaveston ever since I read Christopher Marlowe's play and watched Ken Russell's brilliant take on it.
Ok, so in all honesty, I pretty much expected a medieval erotic novel in which Piers Gaveston would have had sexy scenes with Edward II (and, potentially, his wife, his mistress and other imaginary characters). Personnally, I wanted to read a book about Piers Gaveston and Edward II and don't be fooled, their names may have been used, but those characters has nothing to do with them.
Piers Gaveston, favorite of King Edward II, is writing his memoirs for his lover. The King hopes that Piers will provide Edward with courage and gumption. Edward showers Piers with even more luxery, breeding hate from the noblemen in England. The noblemen soon become so enraged with jealousy for Piers that they demand his exile. Edward celebrates Piers return and soon plans an extravagant wedding for his favorite and his niece. When the wedding takes place, Edward is fearful that Piers will love Meg more than himself and throws a temper tantrum. When Edward leaves to collect his bride, he leaves Piers as his regent. When Edward returns with Isabelle, Piers is horrified at the coldness of the new queen. Isabelle quickly learns the nature of the relationship between Edward and Piers. Piers is once more in the good favors of the King and time passes. The noblemen of England present Edward with a list of grievances, one being Piers. I can understand Piers love of luxury and his inability to cut ties with his King and lover.
It's a deeply personal and quite plausible look at a very strange figure in English history, the homosexual lover of an English king who was absolutely hated by the nobles of the court--and finally killed by them.
I think she intended for Gaveston to appear beautiful and witty and faultless, but he really came over as vain, superfluous, and kind of dumb.
I was expecting a "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" from either Piers or the King.